At Home: MP says Canada’s top judges must be bilingual
An MP wants all of Canada’s top justices to be bilingual, but critics say language shouldn’t come ahead of legal competence.
NDP MP Yvon Godin introduced Bill C-232, which the CBC reports ?would make it mandatory for Supreme Court judges to be able to understand both official languages without the assistance of an interpreter.?
Godin represents a New Brunswick riding that is almost entirely francophone. As he told reporters, ?We want the judges to be able to, when he get appointed to be know both languages, to be able to understand what the other person is saying.?
The private member’s bill is now in the Senate, and it passed the House of Commons with a 140 to 137 vote. The Liberals, the Bloc Québécois, and an Independent MP supported the bill, but the Conservatives voted against it.
As one critic pointed out, legal competence should be the primary concern, and even organizations like the United Nations use translators. John Major, a Supreme Court of Canada justice for 13 years, told reporters that the bill ?misses the point. As we all know, Canada is a country that is governed by the rule of law, and the most essential fact necessary to preserve that is to have the most competent people, regardless of language skills, sit on the Supreme Court.?
By focusing on the criteria of language, Major said, the emphasis would be ?on linguistics and not on the rights, obligations, duties of the people involved in the process.?
In Foreign News: Marriage rates falling in Germany
Germany has long had a low birth rate, and its marriage rates are now in sharp decline as well. According to The Local, the number of men staying single for life is 40 per cent, with the number of single women rising to a third. Those figures are double the rates of 30 years ago.
The marriage rates were tracked by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB). As one BiB researcher told reporters, ?Germans have lost their enthusiasm for marriage.? In the former West, only 14 per cent of women and 24 per cent of men remained unmarried for life in 1980. Today, those numbers are 30.5 per cent and 36.2 per cent respectively.
The shift was even more pronounced in the former East German states. Thirty years ago, just 12 percent of men in those states stayed single for life. That rate is up to 41 per cent today. For women, rates over the same period rose from 8 per cent to a current high of 31.8 per cent.
The change doesn’t seem to be an aversion to the concept of marriage itself. Instead, one sociologist noted that a lack of job security was making people wary of the long-term responsibilities that come with marriage and parenthood.